Consider the outer portion of your disc as the fibers of a car's radial tire. The natural aging process, wear and tear, or trauma causes annular tears. Almost everyone develops annular tears before the age of 20. Sometimes these tears cause symptoms and sometimes they don't.
Symptoms concerning your lumbar spine may be located in your low back because of the disc's internal nerves, or in your leg because of the disc leaking onto adjacent spinal nerves (Leaky Disc Symdome). Prolonged sitting or standing often worsens symptoms. Symptoms concerning your cervical spine may refer to the neck, between the shoulder blades, arms, hands and fingers.
I've observed that physicians unintentionally mislead patients by stating your diagnosis through your MRI results. MRI's provide value in diagnosing your pain, but not completely, whether or not they show disc bulges or other findings (see New England Journal of Medicine July 17, 1994).
Dr. Pauza has simple specific tests pinpointing your pain source.